Boston Housing Authority

Center for Community Engagement > Civil Rights > Fair Housing & Employment > Mediation Program

Mediation Program

Mediation is available to residents who have filed civil rights complaints and is designed to help residents work out mutually acceptable solutions to their civil rights differences and to help prevent eviction for all parties. Mediation contains the following set of principles which can assist parties to reach an agreement about a civil rights dispute. Mediation is:

  • VOLUNTARY: All parties must agree to participate. Any party can call the mediation off at any time.

  • CONFIDENTIAL: Nothing that happens during the session will be reported to anyone. Only the agreement is "public information."

  • THE GOAL: Mediation is intended to assist the parties to reach a mutually acceptable solution for the concerns at hand in the form of a written and signed agreement.

  • THE AGREEMENT: The terms of the agreement are decided by the parties themselves and expressed in their own words. The mediator will write it down; both parties will sign it.

  • THIS IS YOUR PROCESS: Mediators are volunteers trained to help you find your own solutions. They are not judges. They will NOT take sides or decide who is "right" and who is "wrong." You determine the outcome. Your agreement will be subject to review by the Legal Department to assure compliance with the BHA policy and applicable laws.

  • MONITORING: BHA will monitor the agreement to ensure success.
     

Pre-Session Procedures

Any employee may refer a case to mediation. As a first step, the development staff, where the dispute occurred, will contact the parties, briefly explain the program and determine if the parties will voluntarily participate in the mediation process.

Once the disputing parties have been contacted, the Mediation Referral Form must be completed and sent to the Office of Civil Rights
 

Mediation Session

  • Parties will receive a brief explanation of the purpose of the session. 

  • A party can withdraw from participation at any time.

  • If an Agreement is reached, it must be written on the Agreement form. Each party receives a copy of the Agreement.
     

Cases Which Cannot Be Submitted to Mediation

BHA's Mediation Program may refuse to facilitate mediation in some cases, and does not mediate disputes not related to an open civil rights complaint. Examples of cases that may be excluded include:

  • Residents who use their apartment for prostitution, assignation, lewdness, illegal gaming, the illegal keeping or sale of alcoholic beverages, the illegal keeping, sale or manufacture of controlled substances, the illegal keeping of a weapon or incendiary devices. 

  • The commission of a criminal act involving the use or threatened use of force or violence, against a BHA employee, resident, or anyone lawfully on BHA property will be grounds for exclusion.

  • Cases involving domestic violence between residents will also be excluded.  

  • Complaints against BHA employees.

  • For disputes that are not civil rights related, there are community groups which provide mediation services and may be able to assist managers and residents. Please contact the Office of Civil Rights directly for more information.
     

TRY MEDIATION…IT WORKS

Please call the Office of Civil Rights at (617) 988-4566 (TTY: (800) 545-1833 Ext. 420) if you have any questions regarding the civil rights mediation process.